At yahoo group UndoBush is the story “The Switch,” a 40 page parable set in the context of a teacher discussing with his students what an inarguable nightmare Bush and his enabling Republicans are and why Wes Clark should have been the one to get the nomination because of his incomparable appeal to those who lean right and his unparalleled national security credentials. Here is what some have said about it:
“I was honored to have read it.” -a Clarkie mother of a soldier in Iraq.
“I was blown away by how brilliant it is.” –Dell Long, B.B. King’s former PR manager;
“Found the message worth the time it took to read. Its references are most impressive. And the teacher and use of well known folk as students worked. [This is coming from a reader who] is a 79+ year old vet of WWII and a former college journalism and political science teacher. I was a senior staffer and speech writer to a governor, research assistant to a U.S. Senator and personal staff consultant to state-wide office holder. You made feel guilty for not paying closer attention to Clark in 04!” –Jim E. Gregg
“Absolutely astounding! YOU ROCK!” –a Daily Kos blogger.
Here’s an excerpt…
“Nonetheless, teacher, according to many in the military Clark ‘sold his soul’ in order to move up in the ranks sooner than he deserved. And Wes’ superior, General Hugh Shelton, showed contempt for him when he said, ‘I wouldn’t vote for him.'”
“I can’t believe that suckers like you fell for that smear campaign! I would have thought that anyone following the campaigns that closely would have had enough political savvy to not needed it pointed out that, sadly, it’s Shelton and many of his buddies in the Pentagon who, no doubt, must have been shaking in their combat boots at the prospect of an honorable military man with accounting skills coming in to clean house. However, since there’s also a slew of his former colleagues who feel that his due praise cannot be overstated, I’m gonna give Wes the benefit of the ‘doubt.’ After all, just because I think his character is lacking because he likes to hunt, it doesn’t mean he lacks character. Because, frankly, I have serious trouble doubting the character and integrity of a man who volunteered to go to Vietnam and then opted to commit his life to serving in the military instead of resting on his exemplary academic laurels in order to make a million dollars a year.”
“Teacher,” General Barry McCaffrey concurred, “we could fight Kosovo a thousand times, and we would lose a thousand times. Wes Clark is a national treasure. [And you know who else would concur? The former heads of West Point and Annapolis , as well as the woman who headed up Kosovo’s resistance and human rights movement.]”
“You ain’t kidding, Barry,” said Madonna. “When he was a 41-year-old commander his car broke down but he didn’t have the $2000 to get it fixed. So he spent a month in a junkyard rebuilding it from spare parts. That’s what you call A Man’s Man. Isn’t this what we’ve been dying for in a president!? A self-reliant guy who knows what it’s like to have to pinch pennies.”
For about a minute Stephen Colbert had been trying to contain his overwhelming church laughter, but then he inadvertently made a sound like he couldn’t clear his sinuses.
“Did I say something funny, Stephen?”
“You said that you expected the people who followed the primaries closely to be politically savvy. Yet the Kucinich-or-bust contingent needs to be told that, as Randi Rhodes put it: ‘He could never win an election because he doesn’t look good on the TV.’ And the Deaniacs are oblivious to the fact that poise is a relevant attribute of a viable leader. After all, who among them anticipated that Rush Limbaugh would have had a valid point if he had been given the chance to say that it would be disconcerting to imagine al-Qaeda watching the Dean scream over and over the night before President-elect Dean was to be sworn in; let alone that any qualified pragmatist from the Dean camp would have known after the scream that it was time to cut their losses. Hence they would have seen the opportunity for Dean to put his stamp on Clark so as not to lose the leverage of his base, instead of just letting the chips fall where they may even if that meant we’d get stuck with two of the lawyers who think that the oath they took to uphold the Constitution only applies as long as it’s not a political hazard… one of whom is Hillary Clinton; and her contingent needs to be told that the last thing we need to do now is bend over backwards to polarize the nation even further.”
“Teacher, I’m with you,” Drew Barrymore said. “I mean, Clark’s actually a cool guy who doesn’t try to fit into the stereotypical politician mold. Like, did you see when he was campaigning in New Hampshire at a pancake breakfast live on C-Span and someone asked what he’d do if anyone tried to question his patriotism? He jestingly said, ‘I’ll beat the shit out of them.’ Then when his aid was later asked if he meant to really say that, he told him, ‘He meant to say, ‘I’ll beat the living shit out of them.'”
“Uhm, won’t that alienate The Christian Right, teacher?”
“I didn’t see them make a fuss when Cheney, on the Senate floor, told Senator Leahy: ‘Go fuck yourself.'”
“Perhaps Mr. Bush’s supporters had the foresight to say nothing because they anticipated that it was only a matter of time before President Platitude’s true colors slipped out–as on July 27, 2005, when he gave the White House press corps the middle finger as he departed–so they knew it would be hypocritical if they had chastised Cheney for that. After all, they wouldn’t want to be hypocritical, that would be undignified.”
“Still, teacher, Clark wasn’t such a hot campaigner,” lamented one student.
“And Kerry was? Besides, even though he had a few missteps (which were more the product of the media’s sophomoric way of analyzing), if you had seen the grace he exhibited in South Carolina when he knelt beside a crying grandmother and held her hand as he answered her question about her grandson who died from not having adequate healthcare, you would have had no doubt in his sincerity and humanity. And if you had seen his speech at the Jefferson Dinner you would have, like me, been jumping up and down clapping ecstatically with anticipation over him being our next president. And if you thought for yourself then you wouldn’t have fallen for The Liberal Media’s bullshit when they said that it was down to just Edwards and Kerry even though Clark actually made a better showing in the previous day’s primaries than Edwards. And if you had any spine then you’d have boycotted CNN for not firing Bob Novak for the 2 asinine and unprofessional questions he asked Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen. At any rate, do you want a man who knows how to campaign, or do you want a man who knows how to lead and govern? Besides, your point only underscores the need for Democrats to have simply rallied around him in order to help take up the slack left due to his inexperience as a campaigner. Imagine how the public would have reacted to him and to the Democratic Party if they had made such an unprecedented move. Everyone would have said, ‘Wow, the Democrats aren’t kidding when they say that they support our troops and that national security is their top priority; and, man, Clark is certainly someone who we can be proud to SHOW OFF to the world.'”
“Well, hold on, teacher. What about the shoot-first-ask-questions-later contingent like Libertarian talk show host Neal Boortz and the like? They don’t like ‘Weasel Clark’ because he was against the war.”
“Actually, if you read his Congressional testimony from September 26, 2002 along with what he said to The New York Times on his first day campaigning, you’ll see that ‘it’s not that simple.’ It wasn’t about for or against. It was about timing and pacing…and whether or not Saddam Hussein was contained. In a nutshell, Clark’s brilliant philosophy is that you don’t bite off more than you can chew. (Which is also why he’d be a good president: he understands the basic principle of priorital resource allocation.) As such, he knew that there was still plenty of time to merely nibble at Iraq so that they could finish what they started in Afghanistan. And, considering that, before 9/11, Collin Powell recognized that Hussein ‘has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors,’ and that Brent Scowcroft also concurred that Iraq was still a backburner issue, it’s inarguable that we’d be better off if Bush and Congress had taken Clark’s word as gospel.”
“Look, teacher,” said Negative Nancy, “anybody with a fact checker and a soap box can prove to all sane people that Bush is nothing if not a mistake. But just because you can get virtually everyone to agree that Mr. Bush is as bad as it gets and needs to resign, does not mean that you could ever get virtually everyone to concur that General Clark is as good as it’s gonna get for his replacement.”
“Then I must be a fool, because I can’t imagine who on Earth anyone could offer as an alternative whose track record of achievements could instill more trust and confidence than Wesley’s record. You would think that people would just be grateful a guy with such a résumé exists in order to make this such a no-brainer so that we could all unite behind the most universally amenable replacement; if for no other reason than to demonstrate to our troops that we really do support them–even if it means putting politics on hold. I mean, I dare anyone to pass a lie detector while saying: ‘I support our troops, and yet, despite Bush’s track record of much, much, much room for improvement as his role of commander versus Clark’s shining track record as a commander, I have every reason to believe that fewer soldiers would die under Bush’s continued command than would if Clark took charge.'”
Then, Jack Nicholson raised his hand, and in his best Jack Nicholson impersonation drawled, “Teacher, c’mon. It’s an exaggeration to say that it’s a ‘no-brainer’ to have to decide between an experienced and articulate West Point valedictorian who was endorsed by fifty-fucking-five ambassadors, or the ‘President’ who can’t readily remember Kim Jong Il’s name and who doesn’t even fucking say boo when nobody bothers to inform him that his wife has been brought into a fucking bunker. You really shouldn’t be so flip about something that requires very serious reflection. (Besides, it’s not as if the Gulf States would find it particularly handy if we had the Supreme Allied Commander for a president RIGHT FUCKING NOW. After all, I hear that FEMA and Georgie-boy did a bang-up fuckin’ job with their Johnny-on-the-spot response to Katrina! In fact, he was so on the ball with anticipating the unprecedented chaos that the meteorologists made abundantly clear was coming, that he still had time to spare for a round of golf and a guitar lesson on Day 2. …Yet you’d have us believe that Clark’s attitude and experience would have made all the difference in the world in a disaster of this scope, Mr. Histrionics. Perhaps you underestimate just how monumentally reassuring it was to see that when he finally addressed the nation on Wednesday he was sun burnt. And what could possibly instill more confidence in a crisis than seeing that the president is going to jump into the situation one-hundred-fucking-percent recharged from a month long vacation?)”
“Yeah, teacher, just because virtually everyone, after 9/11, said that it would be in everybody’s best interest to agree with the president’s decisions–for the country to be United–doesn’t mean that the non-lefties would ever be mature enough to just agree to agree for the sake of avoiding a leadership vacuum; and thus acknowledge that Clark has the potential to appeal to the farthest and widest swath of the public, thereby making him the clear best choice to take the helm. Because the bottom line is that if Clark were to commandeer the podium, then, being the good leader that he is, he’ll make us actually have to take our medicine and acknowledge that the status quo, at the very least, needs someone to hit the pause button. And you’re really overestimating the grit and solidarity of Americans if you think that they’d acquiesce to allowing in a leader who will force us to take off our blinders.”
“Perhaps, but I bet that once you finish reading this you’ll believe that even contrarians like Boortz will become just as motivated as the rest of us to carry ‘UPGRADE NOW’ signs.”